Wednesday - January 7, 2015

Oregon Court of Appeals Rules on City of Lake Oswego Water Permits

On Dec. 31, 2014, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the judicial review of final orders issued by the State Water Resources Department (WRD) on water permits granted to the City of Lake Oswego in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  The final orders approved the city’s request for additional time to develop its permits, but conditioned the approval to protect the endangered salmon and steelhead that inhabit the Clackamas River.

WaterWatch, a local conservation organization, appealed WRD’s final orders on several grounds. In its Dec. 31 ruling, the Court soundly rejected all but one of the grounds for appeal raised by WaterWatch. The Court did, however, remand back to WRD the one issue related to fish protection for a further time extension.  

“We are pleased to hear that the decision prevailed on four of the five issues at hand,” said Joel Komarek, project director. “We don’t believe the decision from the Court of Appeals will impact the Lake Oswego Tigard Water Partnership project or our planning for a sustainable regional water supply.”

The final orders on water right extensions have been sent back to the Oregon Water Resources Board (OWRD) for further consideration relating to fish protection. OWRD is now working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure the new final orders contain adequate evidence and explanations about how fish will be protected in the Clackamas River.

The cities of Tigard and Lake Oswego joined together in 2008 to share the costs of upgrading Lake Oswego’s water infrastructure and share water. These water pipelines connect Tigard with Lake Oswego’s water system and serve both communities. Other facilities under construction include the river intake pump station on the Clackamas River in Gladstone, the water treatment plant in West Linn, the Waluga reservoir in Lake Oswego, and the Bonita pump station in Tigard.